Many rural areas simply don’t have the drainage infrastructure to cope with an overload of heavy rainfall. Even new-build housing estates are not designed to cope with volumes of water with many gardens left with poor drainage due to building materials, such as cement and bricks, clogging up the underlying soil.

This can have a range of impacts on the environment, including damage to wildlife habitats, polluted becks and streams, and even to crops on farms.

In comes the living driveway!

Grass and healthy plants look elegant and can be an environment for chickens to graze too.

When there is heavy rain, water doesn’t sit on top of the paving stones or, even worse, just disappear down the road elsewhere.

The water can get into the soil and drain without water pooling and puddling.

The Yorkshire living drive project

Lordington Park Agronomy recently embarked on a living drive project in Yorkshire working with our friends at Agri-Vision and Ecogrid.

EcoGrid produces 100 per cent recycled reinforcement grids, which are fully porous, load bearing and durable. The root-friendly sustainable tile provides excellent water drainage and can handle regular use from traffic.

While Agri-Vision is an agricultural contractor specialising in using low ground pressure machinery, but also has a specialised fencing and groundworks team.

In this first update, we’ll share a little insight into how the project is going.

living drive

First thing was to dig down about a foot and scrape back to establish a solid base. We’ve put recycled pin stones around the edges that look good but also secure the edging.

Once the surface was compacted, we’ve put a layer of gravel down, followed by a mixture of 50% sand and 50% sand, silt and clay.  It is important to tamp the gravel down firmly to ensure a solid immobile substrate.

This leaves a productive growing environment where we can put the connecting EcoGrid squares down along with quality topsoil.

We added a mixture of grass seeds to colonise the environment (provided by Hurrell’s Seeds in Hutton Cranswick). Grass species have a high proportion of stoloniferous (above ground creeping stems) species to rapidly colonise the environment, and also rapidly recover and recolonise the area if damaged in any way. Rough Stalked Meadow grass, Creeping Bent, Highland Bent are all stoloniferous.

Then we’ve planted small plug plants, including Yarrow Toad Flax, White Stonecrop, Gold Sedum, Two-row Stonecrop, Chives and Thyme, that look lovely but can also feed chickens.

living drive
We also added Sheep’s fescue to boost soil Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) productivity.  This fungus naturally occupies ever greater areas of the soil adjoining the roots, as well as growing into the plant roots themselves.

This environment will be left until Spring, where we will add more soil and grass seeds – we’ll bring you an update then! You can also follow progress on the Lordington Park Agronomy Facebook page.